Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting

FL: Trapper bitten by caged bear in Franklin County

June 04, 2011

CARRABELLE — A contractor for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was injured recently while trapping a bear.

Larry Covell, of Apalachicola, a bear response agent for the FWC, responded to a complaint by Juanita Brown, who lives on County Road 67 north of Carrabelle, about a bear attempting to get to her goats.

FWC spokesman Stan Kirkland said Brown’s problem with bears was ongoing. He said Brown had installed an electric fence, but the bear remained in the area, so Covell was dispatched to trap the animal for relocation.

On May 19, Covell set a trailer culvert trap, a 6-feet-long, 4-feet-wide section of metal culvert pipe, with a trap door on one end where the bear can enter. The other end is welded shut with a bait door that allows the trapper to insert bait at the far end from the door without entering the trap. The bait door has a metal pin normally chained to the trap so it will not be lost. Once bait is inserted, the bait door is closed and secured by thrusting the pin through two metal loops. The culvert trap also has a long thin observation port on the side which can also be sealed.

On May 20, at around 10:45 a.m., Covell returned to find a young male bear in the trap, but said someone had removed the pin from the bait door and from the trap. Kirkland said that without a pin, the bear was able to insert a paw and its head through the bait door.

Covell tried to secure the bait door to prevent the bear from escaping or injuring itself, but the bear thrust its head out and grabbed his right hand, injuring several fingers. 

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